A dental implant is an excellent procedure to replace one or more missing teeth, but you need to consider a number of things before deciding whether a dental implant is a good choice for you. Among these are costs, but also the state of your general health and the condition of the bone in your jaw. Dr. Tammy Tran can provide you with the information you need to decide if an implant is right for you.
Bone condition is important because an implant is an artificial tooth fitted over an artificial root made of titanium that is surgically placed in the jaw bone. If there has been too much bone loss to accept the artificial root, then additional work will have to be scheduled to replace lost bone.
The procedure to place the titanium root will take place first. This is typically done by an oral surgeon. As part of the healing process, new bone will grow around the artificial root.
The crown is the prosthetic tooth that is above the gum line. Dr. Tran will place the crown on the artificial root once it has healed. When the crown is in place you will have a brand new tooth that is a perfect match to your existing teeth. The implant will be a permanent fixture in your mouth and will look, feel and function like a natural tooth. No one will know you ever had a tooth missing.
Advantages of Dental Implants
If you have lost just one tooth, then perhaps you might be a candidate for a dental bridge rather than a more costly implant. But if you have more than one tooth missing then dental implants might be a consideration. Dental implants can help avoid serious bone deterioration in your jaw but they have other advantages as well.
- They look and feel like your own teeth and they are anchored in the bone the same as natural teeth.
- Because they are anchored in the bone, they prevent normal bone loss that always occurs after teeth are missing. As bone deteriorates, the jaw shrinks and this is a serious long-term problem for patients who have all their teeth extracted. It takes only about ten years for serious bone loss to occur, which leads to shriveling of the face and the complete inability to wear or use a conventional removable denture.
- Done properly, no one will ever know that you have a false tooth.
- Tooth implants do not require any work on adjacent teeth. By contrast, a dental bridge requires preparing the adjacent teeth for crowns and removable partial dentures require some grinding of adjacent teeth and the fitting of clasps, which can catch food and promote tooth decay in those places.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
- Most likely, implants will be more expensive than other types of tooth replacement, and that extra cost often will not be covered by dental insurance.
- Extra visits are usually required, and you may have to see a specialist in addition to your regular dentist. The specialist (an oral surgeon or a periodontist) places the implant root form and your regular dentist places the crown, bridge, or denture on top of it.
- Healing time will be longer and several weeks may pass before you get your new tooth or teeth. You will usually be given a temporary crown to wear while you wait for your permanent teeth.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
First, if you need to have teeth replaced and are thinking of dental implants, you need to be in good general health.
Second, your jaw must have enough bone present in which to place the root. If there is serious bone loss, grafting can be done to prepare your jaw for the implants.
Third, certain chronic conditions such as diabetes, hemophilia, and immune-deficiency diseases may make you a high-risk candidate and must be discussed with your oral surgeon before going forward with implants.
Finally, an important factor is your willingness to take care of your oral health once the implant is in place. Good home care is important to keep your mouth healthy and to help make sure the implants last a lifetime as they are intended.
To talk to Dr. Tran about implants and whether they are right for you, call her at (714)-979-3710 or visit her Make an Appointment page.